The EC has been engaged, in the last two or three years, in an attempt to gain and assert a greater authority over other SBC entities than it has ever had. Mike Stone’s unfortunate tenure as EC chairman was marked by a consistent power grab. The Executive Committee has historically been a coordinating council with seeks to assist the other entities in their work, but more recently, they have been seeking to become more of a “ruling elder board” for the SBC, interfering in other entities and asserting authority they do not have.
Current EC Chairman Rolland Slade is a good and honorable man, but as he was elected, others worked to make sure that a voting majority of officers was controlled by the newly formed CBN so that they could control and set the EC’s direction. No one seems to know if Ronnie Floyd supports CBN control of the EC or opposes it. He has been largely silent about these issues.
In recent years, the EC has:
1. Sought to enact an unprecedented takeover of the Pastors’ Conference of the SBC. For decades, the PC has existed as a separate and independent ministry but in 2020, the EC forced a confrontation, seeking to either shut down or take administrative control of the PC under Mike Stone’s leadership.
2. Derailed Ronnie Floyd’s future vision and SBC president Greear’s initiatives to fight abuse in the SBC (in 2019) by interjecting ineffective methods designed to maintain control at the EC level and avoid holding offenders accountable. What looked so promising two years ago has been a huge failure because of the actions of EC leadership.
3. Launched a one-sided probe of the ERLC by Mike Stone’s friends that produced a laughably weak document. Cooperative Program money and time was wasted on an “investigation” that had a predetermined outcome. We all knew what Stone would say at the end of that one, didn’t we? After spending all that time and money seeking to destroy Russell Moore, Stone now says, “Let’s focus on evangelism.”
4. When the CBN formed, a slate of CBN loyalists was elected as a governing majority of the officers of the EC. Those officers have been counter-productive. One rejoiced when Black pastors decided to leave the SBC, calling one great pastor a “Marxist.” There have been opinions expressed that the SBC will be better off without those “liberal” Black pastors. Threats of lawsuits have been issued against those who have criticized EC officers.
5. When a group of SWBTS trustees and others sought to take over the board of a foundation meant to fund Baylor and SWBTS to divert those monies to support Paige Patterson, SWBTS joined a lawsuit to restore the Riley Foundation’s funding to its original intent. They won decisively. In this process, trustees of SWBTS who had joined the illegal and unethical work at the Riley Foundation were suspended from the SWBTS trustee board for misconduct.
The reaction of the legal team at the EC was not to rejoice that an injustice was righted or that an SBC entity had seen its funding restored. The EC legal team wrote letters to SWBTS seeking to restore the Patterson loyalist trustees.
6. The legal team has been consistently hindering efforts to hold churches that mishandle sexual abuse accountable. Ask those who filed a case with the credentials committee. The credentials committee asks the EC legal team what they should do. The legal team says they should do nothing and they take the legal team’s word as law.
To be fair, I’ve heard conflicting reports on this. I have been told from those involved in the reporting of abuse that this is happening. Others have told me this may not be so. The reports are credible enough that I report them here. It has been reported that the legal team involved itself in interfering with J.D. Greear’s reforms. I do not think they are pro-abuse, but they are lawsuit-averse.
This is not an exhaustive list of EC actions, but it does show what is happening. If you are a Patterson loyalist or committed to the CBN agenda, of course, you are happy. I am neither and I think the EC is out of control.
Fundamentally, the EC is not doing what the EC is supposed to do. They are supposed to SERVE Southern Baptists and NOT seek to give power and control to a certain splinter group. If the CBN can muster a voting majority at SBC Annual Meetings to install their agenda, fine. The rest of us will have to decide what we want to do with the CBN coalition in charge. The EC is not supposed to control the SBC and its agenda at the pleasure of the CBN.
What Must Be Done?
1. The CR showed us the solution. We must elect presidents who see the need for a different type of trustees and we must appoint men and women who understand what the EC is supposed to do. It will take time, but EC turnover is key. The SBC is a big ship and turning it around takes time.
This problem will not be solved tomorrow. Unfortunately, the Pattersonian forces have been at work putting their people in positions of power for a long time, even before Paige Patterson was fired at Southwestern. Trustee turnover is the best method to change the SBC.
2. Some have suggested that a motion be made in Nashville to replace one or more of the officers of the Executive Committee. That is a precedent we might not want to set, but there are a couple of the trustees whose actions have been so egregious that such a vote might just work.
I have mixed feelings on this one.
3. Ronnie Floyd needs to step up and lead. I have been asked repeatedly, “Is Ronnie Floyd on board with the CBN and the Paige Patterson agenda?” The simple fact is that WE DO NOT KNOW. The SBC ship is floundering and Ronnie is sitting silent in Nashville. Has the CBN intimidated him? Some have told me that he is not happy with the CBN takeover but there has not been a word or action of his in public that would indicate that.
My fear when Ronnie was elected was that he would be a power broker, that he would be domineering and controlling. Who would have thought he would become a wallflower about such things?
4. The SBC needs a new legal team. It is clear that our current legal team has become an IMPEDIMENT to the godly operation of the SBC. Documents have been circulating which I will link to here which show the interference of the EC through its legal team in the affairs at SWBTS.
In these documents, the legal team demonstrates that the EC, especially the EC Officers, is trying to exert unprecedented control over another entity. The officers, with the assistance of Guenther and Jordan, are executing a power grab that should make Southern Baptists, even Patterson loyalists and CBN supporters wary.
Here is the email exchange between Guenter Jordan and SWBTS. The exchange is extraordinary. The officers of the EC are working on behalf of a suspended SWBTS trustee shown to have been working to UNDERMINE the seminary by diverting funds from the school (and Baylor) to Paige Patterson. Yet still, the EC officers seek to force the SWBTS board to restore the errant trustees.
In a Biblical Recorder article, SWBTS explains why it suspended the Trustees. Well worth a read (as the BR ALWAYS is).
The stories we are hearing about the legal team interference in efforts to hold abusive pastors and churches accountable are horrifying and if true, it is time the SBC gets new lawyers who will serve the interests of the SBC, not just the CBN loyal officers of the EC.
5. Good men and women on the EC need to stand up and let their voices be heard. Rolland Slade is a solid man but he is only one man. Other trustees of goodwill need to oppose the CBN hegemony among the officers.
6. A suggestion has been made that has merit. Mike Stone pushed through a pointless investigation of Dr. Moore and the ERLC, which has its own board of trustees responsible for its operation. The outcome was predictable. Stone found nothing but still made groundless insinuations.
Perhaps a motion should be made in Nashville to set up a task force of Baptists independent of the EC to examine the overreach of our Executive Committee in the last three years under Mike Stone. That might be a productive investigation!
Actually, it would likely be a waste of SBC resources just as Stone’s ERLC inquisition was.
Yes, my friends, we’ve got trouble, right here in SB City, with a capital E and that rhymes with C and that stands for…